Surah Yusuf (12) - The Best Of Stories 13/15

"Nahnu naqussu 'alayka ahsan al-qasasi bimaaa awhainaaa ilayka haadha al-Qur'an"(12:3) "We do relate unto thee [Muhammad] the most beautiful of stories, in that We reveal to thee this (portion of the) Qur'an".

A'udhu billahi, as-samee', al 'aleem, min al-shaytan al-la'een al-rajim. Bismillah, al-Rahman, al-Rahim. Al-hamdulillahi rabb il-'alameen, thumma as-salaat wa as-salaam 'ala sayyiddina Muhammad wa 'ala ahli baytihi at-tayyibeen at-tahireen. Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammadin wa aali Muhammad. Dear viewers, salamun 'alaykum jamee'an wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.

In the series for the holy month of Ramadan we have been discussing the benefits of the Holy Qur'an, the benefits that you and I can gain and take from the Holy Qur'an, as well as discussing ethical principles from the most beautiful story in the Qur'an, the best of stories, the story of the Prophet Yusuf peace be upon him.

Before we delve into the story once again, I wanted to mention a couple of traditions with regards to the Qur'an. The holy Prophet, peace be upon him, says that 'The Qur'an is rich, there is no richness and riches after the holy Qur'an and there is no poverty after it.' It is not possible that somebody has the Qur'an and feels poor, and neither is it that somebody has the Qur'an and feels that they do not have all the riches of the world.

It is extremely rich in the sense that if one has it and understands it, they do not need anything else. Why do they not need anything else? They do not need anything else because it is a book of guidance, it is a book that will make you into a true human being, a human being that is satisfied with what you have, not a human being who is running around left and right, attracted to pretty much everything, trying to gain more and more and be more greedy.

When the Prophet peace be upon him went on Mi'raaj, Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala told him, 'Oh, Ahmad, do not be like these individuals who are attracted by every yellow and green thing, individuals who are attracted by everything on the earth and everything in the skies.'

Something glitters and all of a sudden we begin to run after it, that is not why the human being has been created. The human being should be satisfied and understand that the entire life is in the hands of Allah so long as they are conforming to two requirements, then everything that comes to them is good. The first of it is that they are doing everything that is incumbent upon them and the second is that they are staying away from everything which has been prohibited to them.

When we begin to make ourselves into individuals who adhere to the command of Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala, then we know that out of His love and generosity, He will look after us and take great care of us. I' will give you an example. If you knew that your parents had a blank cheque and were writing the future of your life, you would not be worried because you trust your parents totally, you realize that they will only write what is good for you and they will write something that you love, too, that is of benefit to you because they know you very well.

Now, understand that Allah is greater than them and that Allah knows you better than they know you, better than you know yourself. And if you trust Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala, then the whole of your life is in His hands and what He is writing can only be good for you. It may not be what you want and this is where we have to understand there is a difference between what is good for us and what sometimes we want. Allah will not simply give us everything we want.

A young child - how many sweets do you give them? You give them a few but you have a time when you stop because you realize that it is not good for them, even if they wanted, it is not good for them. The adult is no different, sometimes the adult wants fame and Allah stops him or her from gaining that fame because that fame will make them go astray, or get to the head, they will become proud. Sometimes an adult wants money, wants wealth, and Allah gives them, but only in a limited fashion, because if they are given more wealth, then they are going to forget Allah Subhaan wa Ta'ala.

There is a beautiful story of an individual who went to the haram [sanctuary] of the 8th Holy Imam, Imam Al-Rida 'alayhi as-salaam, and he asked the Imam for a particular desire that he wanted, hethought it was good for him so he would ask the Imam on a regular basis.

And this is something we should do, we should ask through the Imams, we should ask directly to Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala when we feel that what we are asking for is good for us. But at the end, we should always make it very clear that O Allah, make it clear to ourselves that O Allah, only give this to me if it is good for me, and if you do not give it to me, give me the wisdom to understand why you are not giving it to me.

So this individual went to the holy shrine of the Imam, he kept asking for this desire and it was not being given to him. So then he went to a mystic who is buried in the 'sahan'- in the courtyard of the Holy Imam. He stood by his grave and he said, 'Oh, man, the Imam is not listening to me, so I have heard that the 'Ulamaa can also do Shifaa'a- the 'Ulamaa can also intercede, so I am asking you to please ask God that this is the desire I have,please ask God to give it to me. Very quickly, within a couple of days, he was given what he was asking for. So he became very sad, he thought to himself that the holy Imam is not listening to him, but this 'aalim was willing to listen and intercede for him.

After a few days, he realized that what he had asked for was actually very detrimental to him, It was not good for him and that is when he realized that the Imam was not giving him for a reason, so he went to the grave of this 'aalim, of this scholar. He stood by the grave and he said, Oh, man , O scholar, when you do not know when to give, do not give.'

In the same way, when we call to Allah, He has made it a command in the Qur'an 'ud'uni astajib lakum' (40:60) -'You ask, ask!, I command you to ask and I will answer.' He will answer but the answer does not necessarily have to be yes, you will get what you ask for. The answer can be yes, the answer can be no and the answer can be not yet. Even if He says no, He has still answered but He has answered by saying no for a reason. Remember, it does not increase God in anything if He keeps away from you what you have asked for, neither does it deplete Him when He gives you what you have asked for.

One of the most important parts in this Surah and one of the principles that we need to act upon on a regular basis is what happens in the prison. As Yusuf goes into prison and two individuals come with him, they mention to him that you seem to be of the good-doers. We have had these dreams, can you please interpret them for us? (12:36) Verse thirty seven.

Then Yusuf says that I shall interpret them for you before your food comes to you. Every day they would be given food to eat in the prison, Yusuf says before the food comes to you, I will interpret it for you, meaning that he is certain that he knows the interpretation. He will interpret it for them and will interpret it within a particular time frame, he is now in control of the situation. He says, before your food comes, I will interpret it for you.

But here is where Yusuf 'alayhi as-salaam does something extremely important. He takes the opportunity of that time with two individuals who want something from him. He says, I will give you, but first I want something from you. I do not want you to give me something, I simply want you to lend me your ears so that I can propagate this religion to you. I can propagate tawhid to you.

And he tells them about how: 'inni taraktu millata qawmin la yu'minuna bi-Llahi' (12:37) - I have left a community that did not worship and did not obey Allah and not believe in Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala'. ' wa hum bi-l-aakhirati hum kaafirun'(12:37) -'And with regards to the next life, they were individuals who did not accept it and rejected it.

'Wa-t-taba'tu millata Aaba'i Ibraahima wa Ishaaqa wa Ya'quba' (12:38) - 'I am following, I follow the progeny of the path of my grandfathers Ibrahim and Ishaaq and Ya'qub', and he talks to them about Tawhid and about Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala. He propagates he takes that opportunity to propagate his religion, the religion of Tawhid, to the individuals who are lost(12:39).

There is a principle in here that you and I need to accept, we need to accept we need to act upon as well. The Prophet, peace be upon him, mentions that it is an obligation upon every Muslim man and every Muslim woman to seek knowledge. It is your duty, my duty, his duty and her duty to go forth and learn this religion of ours, not simply to wait for the religion to come to us, not simply to only understand what has come to us from the religion, but to exert effort and go and learn this religion to a certain level.

Not everybody has to go to a high level, not everybody has to go to an extremely deep level but everybody has to exert effort to understand this religion to a certain level such that they may be able to propagate this religion. And propagation of the religion is in two methods. The first is through speech. The first is through teaching people about God, informing people about the path of the Ahlul Bayt.

We have neighbors, for example. We have lived next to our neighbors, some of us for tens of years, 20 years, 50 years yet these neighbors still they do not know a true vision of Islam and an interpretation of Islam, they see what they see in the media is Islam. It is your duty and my duty to correct it. We have a requirement and a duty to speak to them, to inform them about this religion, to tell them that we do not accept what you may be seeing on TV- this is not Islam. True Islam is X and Y.

Invite them to your houses, show them the type of family you are, show them how you treat your children and your spouse. Let them learn Islam one through your speech.

But secondly, as the Ahlul Bayt 'alayhim-us-salaam say they say, 'Call unto us through your actions without your speech.' It does not have to be through your speech, through your actions, because actions speak louder than words. When your neighbors see how respectful you are of them, when your neighbors see how you treat your family, how you speak well to your spouse, how you speak kindly to your children, how you love them, naturally they will be inclined towards that which is making you act in this manner.

Remember, the Holy Prophet used to emphasize on the rights of a neighbor so much that Amirul Mu'minin 'alayhi-s-salaam, said, 'We thought that he would include them in the 'wasiyyah'- in the will of an individual.' That is how much respect he was giving to one's neighbors.

We have a duty not only within the four walls of a mosque to do 'tabligh'-to propagate, but even outside. When we go to Ziyaarah, when we go for Hajj, it is easy to become embarrassed as to where we are going. It is easy not to tell our colleagues, our places of work, people who are at the places of work. It is easy not to tell them where we are going and hide it from them.

Instead, we need to be individuals who are proud of our religion, individuals who are not apologetic about where we are going and why we are going, individuals who want to speak about Husayn, who want to speak about Zainab, who want to speak about Makkah and Madina, who want to inform people of where we are going, why are we going and what change it makes within us.

Some people may not understand in today's environment why we will uproot ourselves for two weeks and go for 'arba'in', for example, it is a perfect time to inform them what Husayn stood for and the mission of Husayn that we wish to continue until today.

If we can learn anything from this part that Yusuf was in prison is that we should seize every opportunity to propagate our religion to other people, the religion of God, the religion of Tawhid and the path of the Ahlul Bayt 'alayhim-us-salaam.

We ask Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala to make us steadfast in the path of Ahlul Bayt 'alayhim-us-salaam. We ask Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala to hasten the appearance of the 12th Holy Imam, and that when the Imam reappears, we shall be able to understand who he is.

Finally, we ask Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala that if we are not meant to be alive when he reappears, then we pray that someone from our progeny becomes of his choicest companions, and through that individual's actions, we shall enter into paradise with the Imam

Wa sall-Allahu 'ala Muhammad wa 'alaa ahli baytihi, at-tayyibeen, at-tahireen.